Work Characteristics and Ill Health: Gender differences in Israel

Noah Lewin-Epstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Utilizing the concept of gender roles, a framework is proposed for the study of sex differences in the work-health association. The hypotheses put forward reason that social psychological attributes of work that reflect on self-image and identity will be most consequential for men's health, whereas demands at work on one's time and energy will more strongly affect women. The empirical analysis was based on a sample of 442 employed men and 243 employed women residing in urban communities in Israel. Working women reported more somatic complaints and illness behavior than men. Men's health, however, was more strongly related to work characteristics, and this was particularly true for perceived health status and medical visits. Among women, work-related attributes were most strongly related to somatic complaints. The patterns of relationship between specific work attributes and illness in the two groups were somewhat different. Lack of job satisfaction and higher stress were more strongly related to illness among men, whereas the effect of excessive work demands was more pronounced in the case of women's health. These findings are discussed in light of theoretical approaches, and the implications for changing female work activities are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-104
Number of pages25
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1989


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